Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Cry of the Icemark by Stuart Hill

The Cry of the Icemark is the debut novel by Stuart Hill. Set in a land akin to that of Norse myth and legend the story tells the tale of young Princess Thirrin struggling to defend her land against an evil Empire which threatens to swallow Icemark and its neighbours to the north. In her perilous journey from her father's halls to the eventual battle Princes Thirrin encounters witches, warlocks, werewolves, vampires and other mythical creatures. The story is one of the underdog striving against great adversity, of children old before their time and of myth and legend. Can Thirrin save her kingdom and her friends? Or will the evil General Belloc triumph and wipe out the world as they know it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Although the haughty and sometimes rude Princess can get on your nerves at times you have to admire her tenacity, courage and diplomatic skills. As someone who often feels they are alone in trying to achieve compromise it was refreshing to see it being wielded as a weapon of great power in this book. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys fantasy partictularly fantasy derived from Nordic myth and legend. The book is firmly steeped in our visions of Angol Saxon/Viking warrior culture and the fact that all the Generals from the Empire hae Roman names did not escape my notice!

I thought the book was well written and descriptive yet did not fall into the trap of all description and no action which is easy to do. Some characters were particularly lovingly portrayed such as Maggiore Totus and Thirrin's father King Redrought (who likes to wear yellow slippers). I particularly liked the relationship between Maggiore and Thirrin's uncle Olememnon. There are some beautifully well written scenes and I for one recommend this to anyone. Definitely one to read on this long winters nights with a good hot drink :)

*4 Stars*